Computers are near-omnipotent cauldrons of processing power, but they're also stupid. They are the undisputed chess champions of the world, but they can't understand a simple English conversation. IBM’s Watson supercomputer defeated two top Jeopardy!
But we will not see computers acquire minds anytime soon, and in the meantime we will end up accommodating the formalist methodologies of computer algorithms. The problem is one of ambiguity as much as nonneutrality. A reductive ontology of the world emerges, containing aspects both obvious and dubious. Search engines crawl Wikipedia and Amazon, Facebook tries to create their own set of inferred metadata, the categories propagate, and so more of the world is shoehorned into an ontology reflecting ad hoc biases and received ideas, much as the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica just happens to have become one of the most-read sources on the planet in the past decade. These problems do not arise from malicious intent, but from expediency and happenstance.
There is good news and bad news. The good news is that, because computers cannot and will not “understand” us the way we understand each other, they will not be able to take over the world and enslave us (at least not for a while). The bad news is that, because computers cannot come to us and meet us in our world, we must continue to adjust our world and bring ourselves to them. We will define and regiment our lives, including our social lives and our perceptions of our selves, in ways that are conducive to what a computer can “understand.” Their dumbness will become ours.
Via M. Edward (Ed) Borasky